Belle Of The West
- Review by Hannah
Samantha Fish: A New Take on the Blues
Samantha Fish, a Missouri indie artist whose past albums have harkened back to the early days of Delta blues, is particularly known for her use of slide guitar and her distinctive vocal and songwriting style. However, in her newest album Belle of the West, Fish proves that she is a competent and versatile musician by dabbling in country music—with gritty vocals, authentic lyrics, and instrumental mixes that harken back to the style’s early days.
In the album’s opener, Fish turns a cliché on its head, using the “American Dream” concept to express a biting social criticism. The album does not slow down from there. The second track, “Blood in the Water,” continues the tone of the opener with some dark harmonies and a haunting orchestral arrangement. However, the highlight of the album is almost certainly its title song, “Belle of the West.” Here, Fish tells an intriguing folktale in a style reminiscent of Joan Baez’s “Silver Dagger,” with a gorgeous slide guitar accompaniment that complements the lyrics. The two main melodic voices (guitar and voice) interact in a way that is almost conversational. Meanwhile, the rhythm section, which includes some basic string parts, provides a backdrop for that conversation to occur.
Samantha Fish’s newest album Belle of the West puts a dark twist on many musical clichés, bringing layers of complexity back to the age-old, constantly evolving genre of blues music. I, like many others, am excited to see what else she has in store.